2021 Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid to debut soon, plug-in hybrid coming

Just as Hyundai celebrates 20 yeas of the Santa Fe, it is also preparing a facelift for the current model which debuted just a couple of years ago.

In a statement Hyundai confirms it will be introducing the updated 2021 Santa Fe “by the end of 2020”. Although specific details on the update aren’t officially confirmed, it says the facelift will include “new electrified powertrains” and “major design updates”.

As we’ve reported recently, the 2021 Santa Fe is expected to use plenty of the technologies that we saw debut for the 2021 Kia Sorento. In that is a new 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder hybrid that produces a combined output of 169kW and 350Nm, matched not to a CVT like many hybrids out there but to a six-speed auto. It would be reasonable to assume a similar setup is on the way for the 2021 Santa Fe.

A slightly revised, 149kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is likely as well, matched to the company’s new eight-speed dual-clutch auto, while the 2.5-litre ‘Smartstream’ turbo-petrol four-cylinder might also be introduced for some markets. The new 2.5 produces up to 224kW in the Genesis G80 and GV80. A plug-in hybrid is also set to arrive a bit later down the track, although market region availability is yet to be confirmed. Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, vice president marketing & product at Hyundai Europe, said:

Dynamic Display Ad(Long Version)

“For Hyundai it is an automotive icon which continues to evolve in terms of design, technology, roominess and comfort. With this latest evolution, Santa Fe maintains its status as a flagship model in our broad SUV portfolio, and further underlines our heritage in SUVs while also moving the game forward with its innovation and electrification.”

We’ve seen prototypes of the 2021 Santa Fe in Korea that have shown snippets of what to expect in the design department, and all signs suggest Hyundai will bring across the unique cross-through headlight setup that’s also seen on the Palisade. LED daytime running lights strike through the main headlight housing, vertically, with the main beams on the outer sections (as shown on the 2021 Santa Fe prototype above).

Only minor changes are expected for the main torso of the SUV, with similar doors and trimmings set to carry over from the 2020 model. However, the taillights and tailgate might receive a neat facelift to match the updated front end.

Hyundai says further details on the 2021 Santa Fe update will be revealed in the “near future”. A leaked production schedule earlier this year (shown below) suggested the ‘TM’ Santa Fe HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) would go into production in May, with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version to roll out from December.

Brett is the editor and founder of Performance Drive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.